Gujjar Nagar Pacer Umran Malik Likely To Get In Team India Against South Africa

SRINAGAR:  Sensational pacer Umran Malik, the Jammu and Kashmir cricketer currently with the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) is expected to join the Indian team for the upcoming T20 series against South Africa, reports appearing in the media said.

Jammu cricketer Umran Malik is right now the fastest bowler in India

The right-arm fast bowler has literally taken the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 by storm with his impressive bowling. Bowling at 150 kmph, the 22-year-old is being seen as the “next big thing” in Indian cricket.  Sunrisers retained Malik for IPL 2022 season at a price of four crore rupees.

Playing against Gujarat, he bagged his maiden five-wicket haul. Sunriser lost the game but that is a different story.  Currently the leading wicket-taker of SRH with 15 wickets to his name in eight matches, Umran is the third-highest wicket-taker in the league overall.

“How often do you get a bowler in India bowling at 150kph+ consistently? He is a rare talent and is definitely on our radar. Of course, his name is being considered for India so that he can be groomed,” a member of the Indian selection panel was quoted as saying by Insidesport.

People are so impressed by him that at Wankhede, a fan was holding a placard:  “I am here to see Umran Malik’s bowling.”

Kashmir cricketer, Umran Malik

“For the past few years, the Indian Test team has had a potent pace attack that has been the envy of the world. But there has never been someone quite like Umran Malik,” Indian Express wrote in its editorial Umran Malik: From Kashmir, a son of a fruit-seller, who is yet to play for the country, offers hope. “You can marvel at Jasprit Bumrah’s physique and the intelligence in his bowling, appreciate Mohammad Shami’s seam positions, smile at Umesh Yadav’s swing at pace, nod at Mohammad Siraj’s springy zest. But Malik injects a never-before feeling: A visceral thrill at watching a ball rush through the air. There have been highly skilful fast bowlers and more are mushrooming, but Malik hurls intimidatory blurs, adrenalin-kickers, cannonballs to satiate cricket devotees’ lust for pace.”

Born in 1999, Umran is the son of a fruit seller Abdul Rashid. They live in Jammu’s Gujjar Nagar. Passionate about cricket, he would play gully cricket till 17.

During a practice match, he stunned the U-19 selectors with his pace. This led to his inclusion in Jammu and Kashmir’s U-19 at the age of 18, after being denied an entry initially. He played his T20 debut for Jammu and Kashmir in the 2020-21 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on January 18, 2021. His List-A debut was also for Jammu and Kashmir in the 2020-21 Vijay Hazare Trophy on February 27, 2021.

Umran was recommended to the Sunrisers management by his friend, Abdul Samad – also from Jammu and Kashmir, as a net bowler in 2020. Later when pacer T Natarajan contracted Covid in 2021, Umran succeeded him for the time being. His raw pace impressed all and he came in sharp focus of everybody.

In April 2021, he was selected as one of the three net bowlers for IPL 2021. Malik made his IPL debut on October 3, 2021, with SRH against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). He came into the limelight when he bowled five balls in a row at a speed of over 150 kmph.

When SRH gave a chance against Kolkata Knight Riders, he unleashed himself on the game and became the speed gun. In IPL-2021, Malik bowled the second fastest delivery at 152.95kmph, which made the Indian captain Virat Kohli take notice of the young speedster. Malik was selected as a net bowler in the Indian team for the T20 World Cup.

While he is being seriously considered for his inclusion in the Indian Team, former cricketer and erstwhile fast bowler Munaf Patel has asked BCCI to get him in. “The BCCI should not wait for him to perform in the domestic circuit and then bring him into the Indian team,” Munaf was quoted saying. “You take him as the 17th member of the squad if you want, but do take him along. He will learn about the culture and various situations and will learn to adapt if he stays around with everyone. It is something that has to be done.”

Munaf has had a warning for cricket managers in India:  “There needs to be a system in place where there is a restriction on the number of matches a fast bowler plays in a year. Now, of course, technology has advanced in terms of physiotherapy and training, but still, you will have to take care of him. If you use him too much, then chances are he will suffer a big injury and that means he will then have to start cutting down on his pace. But right now, he is bowling like soney pe suhaaga.”

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